It's a battle between free
speech and access to care. A small group of protestors religiously show up
outside of Burlington's Planned Parenthood. They're opposed to the abortions
"We care," said
Rita Mantone, a protester. "We just want to hand them information. We want
to be a quiet prayer witness. We're not here to aggravate."
But staffers at the clinic
say some protestors follow and intimidate the women trying to seek care.
"If we have one
patient who stops and doesn't come in to get tested for HIV because they feel
intimidated by a protester, that's one too many," said Jill Krowinski of
A few months ago Planned
Parenthood petitioned the city to establish a buffer zone. On Monday, in a 13-1
vote, city councilors approved an ordinance that would keep protestors 35 feet
from all reproductive health facilities in the city. The safety zone doesn't go
into effect until Aug. 15, but demonstrators say the city told them it started
"The City Council has
been not very interested in helping us understand the law," said Agnes
Clift, a protester.
Thirty-five feet from Planned
Parenthood's front door would put the protestors in the middle of the street.
So the alternative is to go 35 feet up the green belt, putting the protesters
right in front of a neighboring business.
"It creates a lot of
tension in front of the salon," said Don O'Connell, who owns the
neighboring business, O'M.
"We have always told
the people who own this business that we would not stand in front of their
business because they've asked us not to," Clift said. "And they're
pretty angry that we're standing here. We don't want to be offending
But demonstrators say the
ordinance has left them without a choice, especially since standing across the
street is not something they're willing to do.
"It puts us out of
reach of the client," Clift said.
But O'Connell now worries
about his clients and the commotion outside his door.
"I'm not here for a
holy war or a belief war. I'm here for the good of my salon and my
business," O'Connell said. "Every one of my clients has to at least
walk by or through the protesting."
An ordinance that pushes
his neighbor's problems closer is not something he thinks is fair. But as long
as the demonstrators aren't blocking his door, police say they can't force them
to put down the cameras or stop the praying.
Planned Parenthood says
they want to make sure their neighbors are comfortable with the zone.
Before the ordinance goes
into effect the city will post signs clearly marking the zone.
Friday, April 18 2014 8:54 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:54:02 GMT
A sugaring season was cut short in Swanton overnight after a shed caught fire. Fire officials tell us they got the call around 1:30 a.m. Friday for the sugarhouse fire on Woods Hill Road. They say theMore >>
A sugaring season was cut short in Swanton overnight after a shed caught fire.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:46:49 GMT
As the temperatures start to climb, it's your last weekend to ski in New Hampshire. The three remaining areas that are open -- Loon Mountain, Cannon Mountain, and Bretton Woods -- are planning to closeMore >>
As the temperatures start to climb, it's your last weekend to ski in New Hampshire.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:45:18 GMT
This week, the first line of emergency responders are being recognized for their work. National Telecommunicators Week ends Saturday. It's a national week honoring the men and women who work around-the-clockMore >>
This week, the first line of emergency responders are being recognized for their work.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:04:40 GMT
A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road. Investigators say 63-year-old Eric Ladd was walking slipped and hitMore >>
A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:00:59 GMT
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire. On Wednesday workers were doing spring clean-up at Wheelock park when they found a 55-gallon drumMore >>
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:58:40 GMT
There's been a tragedy on the Burlington beltway Thursday night. Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltway. The name has been releasedMore >>
Burlington Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltline.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:08:04 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>